28 October 2006

Surprised by a human being, again

ChaosI'm always amazed by the human ability to adapt to strange circumstances and local customs, though paradoxically it comes together with a counter-ability to resist change and cling to one's own convictions and prejudices, in hugely varying relative proportions for different people.

Upon my discovery of chopsticks as eating utensils, I eagerly adopted them for all meals tiny and/or noodly, oriental or not. I'm not a natural but I can manipulate them well enough; being genetically clumsy, this is less an accomplishment of mine than a demonstration of the easiness of their handling. Yet several people I've tried to introduce chopsticks to have been reluctant. They didn't want to even try them. They feared they would never learn, and if anything, they would "become Chinese". Ouch.

From the other side of the world came the opposite reaction, when the other day poor Watanabe-sensei decided (apparently) that she wouldn't be left behind by Argentine societal trends, and at the end of our shodō class she insisted, to our surprise, that we say goodbye to her with a kiss in the cheek, rather than with just a bow and a respectful sayōnara. Earlier in class, as one of the guys asked her to draw a particular kanji to take home, artistically-minded Watanabe-sensei sat down and produced some beautiful strokes, and then turned to the student and said jokingly in broken Spanish, "That would be 1 peso". I had to laugh. I said, 渡辺先生はもうアルゼンチン人になったねえ! She laughed as well. Sensei has been here for only a few months and I'm sure she's been puzzled most of the time, so that was a surprise.


  1. Cuanto te puedo cobrar, le falto decir.

    No te habras interesado en el japones mirando Shogun, no?

  2. You have an eerily accurate insight into La Familia (I mean mia familia argentina)...

    The most amusing, for me, was when I cooked a three course Italian meal (neither pizza nor pasta) for all 20 of them, they thought they were eating Chinese!

  3. Forgot to reply to this! No, Luciano, aunque Shogun me gustó mucho y fue una de las primeras ocasiones en que escuché japonés hablado. Después fue el animé. Siempre me gustó cómo suena el japonés.


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